Thursday, 14 February 2013

Does emotion regulation protect employees from the negative effects of workplace aggression?

an article by Karen Niven, Christine A. Sprigg and Christopher J. Armitage (University of Sheffield, UK) published in European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology Volume 22 Number 1 (February 2013)


Workplace aggression poses a significant challenge to organisations due to its potential impact on employees’ mental and physical well-being. Using two studies, this article investigates whether emotion regulation could alleviate the negative effects of exposure to workplace aggression on employees’ experience of strain, among social workers (N = 77) and emergency services personnel (N = 70).

As predicted from coping theories of emotion regulation, Studies 1 and 2 showed that using the emotion regulation strategy of reappraisal during interactions with individuals from inside the organisation (e.g., coworkers or managers) attenuated the workplace aggression-strain link.

Conversely, but consistent with emotional labour theories of emotion regulation, engaging in reappraisal and suppression during interactions with legitimate outsiders (e.g., clients or patients) strengthened the workplace aggression-strain link.

The findings have implications for both theory and practical interventions regarding workplace aggression.

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